Under the new federal Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), most home improvement projects on homes build before 1978 will require certified lead paint removal contractors to follow strict lead paint removal precautions. To comply with the new regulation, those working on older sites will need to invest in lead-testing kits, plastic sheeting, respirators, protective clothing and other lead-safety materials.
These rules will really impact Massachusetts because its housing stock is much older than other states’. According to a recent Boston Globe article, home improvement costs will no doubt rise due to the new rules.
The threshold for the new rules is whether the home improvement project will disturb more than 6 interior square feet of paint or 20 exterior square feet of paint. This extremely low threshold will cover virtually any home improvement project involving cutting into any wall or ceiling.
The only way to avoid taking the extra precautions is to have a certified inspector (which may be the contractor) perform an EPA endorsed lead paint test which results in a negative result.
The rules went in effect on April 22, 2010, and cover paid renovators who work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, including:
- Renovation contractors
- Maintenance workers in multi-family housing
- Painters and other specialty trades.
The new rules require that the contractor performing the work be certified with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The certification process involves taking a day long training session on lead paint removal safety best practices.
Nothing in the new regulations requires owners to evaluate existing properties for lead or to have existing lead removed.
The Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety will be taking over the enforcement of the rules in Massachusetts.
If you are seeking a certified contractor in the Greater Boston area, George Lonergan of Lonergan Construction, Inc., based in Framingham has been certified and has already performed several jobs using the new precautions.
Helpful Links: EPA Renovate Right Brochure
Thanks to Patrick Maddigan, Esq. and Suffolk Law student Kate Garavaglia for assistance with this article.